Extreme weather disasters across the U.S. so far this year have already caused more than $57.6 billion in damage and killed at least 253 people — more than any other year — and it’s September. The 23 disasters in 2023 causing more than $1 billion each, which combined make up that total, are already more than the 22 billion-dollar events that beset the country in 2020, and they do not include Tropical Storm Hilary or the severe drought parching the South and Midwest because those costs have yet to be fully calculated.
NOAA climatologist and economist Adam Smith used to think the 2020 record of 22 billion-dollar disasters (which smashed the previous record of 16) would stand for much longer, but now says he doesn’t believe any such records will last very long. “We’re seeing the fingerprints of climate change all over our nation,” Smith said. “I would not expect things to slow down anytime soon.” Smith said. (AP, The Guardian, Axios, Washington Post $, CNN, ABC, CBS, Al Jazeera, HuffPost, Weather Channel; Maps and graphics: San Francisco Chronicle)